Routine vaccination rates for children on the decline in Pima County

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 7:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Doctors in Pima County are stressing the importance of keeping your kids’ vaccines up to date. It sounds like common sense, but pediatricians say it isn’t.

“It has been difficult for parents and kids to get back into the primary care practice,” said Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center.

And, Elliott said, said the pandemic played a major role in that.

“But the other part, and this is scary, I think there has been an attack on science. So even as people do not believe in COVID vaccines, that is starting to extend to routine vaccines as well,” he said.

Pima County Health Department vaccine preventable program manager Crystal Rambaud said the numbers are not alarming.

“The coverage rates have declined but it is pretty small rates. So that is something to keep in mind. Most of the cases it is half a percentage point or 1% to 2% for a single vaccine as far as coverage goes. However, it is important that we do not ignore those downward trends,” she said.

“The last four days, I have had three families with children who are unvaccinated. They are old enough to be vaccinated multiple times,” explained Dr. Elliott.

He was not talking the COVID vaccine.

“Routine primary shots against Hib, against tetanus, against pertussis and the whole nine yards.”

Dr. Rajiv Modak with El Rio said he is seeing the same thing at his clinic.

“I am seeing the worst delay with the infants. They are starting to come back in, but they are delayed but we are having to play catch up for those who have gone six to nine months without a vaccine,” he said.

Both pediatricians said, no matter how long it has been since your little one has seen the doctor, there is no need to be embarrassed.

“We would like to reassure them and say they are not alone. This is a problem across the nation, and it is understandable.” he said.

Doctors suggest parents make an appointment with their pediatrician as soon as possible to get their children up to date on their vaccines.

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